Earlier today, China had said that they were promoting their flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Project as an “open initiative” of a “One Belt One Road Project”. However, it shockingly said that it was open to the idea of other countries joining the CPEC. This is a paradigm shift of the Chinese stance, which seemed to be pushing the project to try and turn Pakistan into a disguised colony of China.
The Commander of the Southern Command of the Pakistani Army, Lt. Gen. Aamir Riaz, had earlier offered India to join the project. Upon this, The Dawn, Pakistan’s number one English news daily (also loved by a few Indians), asked the spokeswoman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, what China thinks about it. She said:
I wonder whether the Indian side takes this offer made by the Pakistani general as a gesture of goodwill … We hope that CPEC will not only promote socio-economic development in Pakistan and China, but also contribute to regional connectivity, peace, stability and prosperity … China would discuss the possibility of introducing a third party to CPEC on the basis of consensus with the Pakistani side through consultation.
She had hinted that the Chinese motive behind the project was more than just business. She said:
China regards CPEC as a framework built by the two countries with a focus on the long-term development of bilateral cooperation in various fields.
Meanwhile, earlier today, the Chinese government’s mouthpiece, Global Times had run an article calling on India to “consider accepting the olive branch Pakistan has extended” to join CPEC. The government-run newspaper read:
China is likely to adopt an open attitude toward India joining the CPEC and would be happy to see more friendly interactions between the two South Asian neighbours. The CPEC has long been seen as a flagship project in China’s Belt and Road initiative and India’s involvement would be conducive in pushing forward the initiative.
On 23rd December, Gen. Riaz had advised India to “stop employing subversive activities against Pakistan” and “share the fruits of future development by joining the project instead … India, like Iran, Afghanistan, China and Central Asian states, should enjoy the benefits of CPEC.”